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Interior Inspiration from the immersive kingdom of Neverworld!

Interior Inspiration from the immersive kingdom of Neverworld!

I may be late to the game but I have a new summer activity that epitomises that time of year now for me. The balmy summer sun on my skin, that grassy smell and the taste of alfresco eating. I’m talking about festival life. As a teenager this wasn’t something that happened a lot in Northern Ireland (or if it did I didn’t know much about it!) and have only discovered this simple pleasure in life in my early thirties.

For the third time last year I revisited the magical playground that is Neverworld (previously called Leefest) which is famous as the party that started in Lee’s garden when his parents were on holiday and is now “a mini glastonbury” according to Annie Mac who headlined a couple of years ago. And this is the beauty of the festival, the music is GREAT! I’m no muso but every year consistently I have found new bands to love for the year ahead. It’s super family friendly even through the emphasis is still on the music. There’s no Duggee or Mr Tumble to take you away from the wonderful realms, which to be honest keeps both kids and adults completely entranced. There are snarling pirates to keep you on your toes, glittery ethereal mermaids (and mermen!) to awaken the senses and lost boys who add that mischief and intrigue who want to never grow old.

Where to next?

Where to next?

My background in theatre and the performing arts means that I completely adore the ability of imagination to build a set that allows you to enter a whole new world in a farmer’s field and feel transformed by the music and energy of Neverworld. And this got me thinking, creating atmosphere (albeit not so dramatic than these fictional places) is something key in interior design and what I love writing about and helping clients with. You need to know what atmosphere you want to create in a room before you start (alwasy ask yourself how do I want to feel in that space) and then be led by your intuition and awareness of what colours and patterns are going to achieve that for you. The interesting thing is that each realm of Neverworld - The Neverwoods, Skull Ridge and Mermaids Lagoon lends itself perfectly to three interior trends that I am actually quite keen on myself and that feature (or will do soon) in my home. These are Boho, Modern Pastel and Steampunk Vintage.

The Bohemian Lost boys of the Neverwoods

Boho feels at Neverworld music festival kent

I’m going to start with this one as it’s one that I’m going to be using in my new Reception room (plans revealed in a blog post soon). As an atmosphere it’s very relaxed, where natural materials (a trend embodying sustainability strongly emerging across the interiors world at present) and lots of texture help achieve this. It can be bright, dark or neutral and isn’t restricted by colour palettes (which is great as it leaves a lot of room for your personal colour tastes), loves plants, bamboo, rugs, anything handmade and for me has a real nostalgia to the 70s. This trend has been around for a while and thanks to its ability to be expressed in different ways I think it’s one to stay. There is lots of wood and the famous La Redoute rug (have a look here if you have no idea what I’m talking about) is the perfect addition here! Probably the elements I most want to embrace in my own home is a beaded chandelier that I’m sort of keen to try making myself (I know I must be mad) and lots of macrame (knotted string in patterns to make decorative articles) and hanging plants.

Here’s some of my favourite boho instagram homes that are really inspiring me at the minute. Firstly the lovely Amy from @at_home_at_70 who is a self-confessed 70s boho obsessive. She’s also local to me and an Instagram favourite who I’ve actually met in real life. How much do I love those curtains! Seriously they take me back to my aunt’s house when I was growing up…

Photo by  @at_home_at_70

Another new discovery and someone I’m hoping to meet next week at Chelsea design Festival (it’s free and it’s fun so maybe I’ll see you there too?!)l is @bo.fentum.design and what I love about her 70s townhouse is her experimenting with various tones in her home and you will probably guess from my own instagram feed at the minute, I’m majorly crushing on pink! Here boho plants and mid-century come together in colour which leads on quite nicely to the second realm…

bo+fentum 70s home instagram

You can also check out more on my Boho Pinterest Board here:

The Mermaids Lagoon with its Miami Beach vibe

Photo by  John Ford

Photo by John Ford

This one is really fun and full of colour and thanks to the ethereal, enchanting mermaid presence, it has an air of mysticism and surprise. There are some great designers embracing this retro feel in their work and 2LG Studio are completely killing it and embracing it in their own home. Personally, I’m definitely drawn to it’s strong (and not too delicate) pastel colours and it’s subtle optimism but also love its mid-century nostalgia and my love of 60s LA. Think David Hockney (whose exhibition I wrote about here on the blog a while back as a great inspiration for colour in home decoration). I also like how trends in this area are enjoying curved shapes and of course a bit of neon which I wrote about on the blog last week here. You can really go for this or tame it down to suit your preference but the really brave will embrace it and really experiment with colour!

Just a little additional thought is that Tiger Lily’s Tiki Bar is my favourite place to sip cocktails at Neverworld and I think the bar cart or a shelved bar area is becoming a welcome addition in our homes too…

Here are Jordan and Russell from 2LG studio in their brilliantly vibrant and fun yet sophisticated kitchen.

And a bathroom from one of their own interior design projects with this playful colour combination

Hither-Green-24-web.jpg

Pirates Galore in Skull Ridge's Steampunk Lair

Photo by  John Ford

Photo by John Ford

Photo by  John Ford

Photo by John Ford

Anyone who knows me will know that I am a dark interiors lover at heart. When I discovered my love for dark walls was when I really started to love the rooms I was decorating in my home and feel comfortable and relaxed in my four walls. This is what I loved about Pirates Cove and it’s grungey vibes as well as the antiques dotted around and traditional old-saloon styling. I like a bit of rock and I can testify it got pretty metal and thrashing here!

Pirates cove at Neverworld

I believe antiques and old items are important in my interiors to tell history and create interesting narratives. I also like the juxtaposition of old items against more modern walls too so that it feels fresh and not too much like visiting an old dated museum. This is always a balancing act! Let a period of time be an inspiration but allow new a creative ideas to stop it from looking dated or like the set of a pantomime! My rooms definitely lean towards the vintage end of the spectrum rather than modern with it’s clean lines and I love industrial lighting and details which I think gives my rooms quite a masculine feel sometimes.

Here are some examples of rooms inspired by Pirate’s Cove at Neverworld:

Image Credit  here

Image Credit here

Image credit  here

Image credit here

If dark interiors is your thing like me then head over and peruse my ‘Divinely Dark Rooms’ here:


Well! How did you get on? Was there a favrouite realm that stood out for you? Although the costumes definitely add to the atmosphere when you’re actually at Neverworld, I really believe that the set and art direction magnificently addd to the feel an atmosphere too. I love how it’s such a creative endeavour, one that I appreciate right down to the very details. My kids loved all the characters around the place and dressing up themselves. I mean who wouldn’t want to be a mermaid or pirate, even my husband was embracing the glitter and black eyeliner! But it mostly resonate with me as it reminds me that aesthetics play a huge role in our lives and are only enhanced by colour and design. And I believe there is no better opportunity to embrace this fun and playfulness in our homes. What sounds most like your vibe from the three interior styles and will you be festivalling anywhere this year?

Yours in colour and creativity,

Donna Ford Skirting Boards and Chandeliers

Neverworld will be taking place in Hever, Kent this summer from 1-4 August in John Darlings field. Have a look here for information on the line up (so far) and more information about tickets.

Photo by  John Ford

Photo by John Ford

Here are some of my favourite images from last year…

Disclaimer: All photos my own unless Otherwise stated. I was given free tickets in exchange for photography last year at Neverworld 2018. Photos belong to my very talented husband John Ford where credited.

Colour story: Embracing neon in our homes!

Colour story: Embracing neon in our homes!